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How to mend a rip in your clothes

Learn how to mend that pesky rip in the seat of your pants or the cuff of that shirt you love, using satin stitch with this easy-to-follow tutorial.

I am really passionate about visible mending as I think it really allows us to connect with our clothes as well as show off our own personality and style.

Hand stitching can be very meditative (remind me of this when my thread has tied itself in a thousand knots…) so I really recommend taking some time out to fix that tear or rip.

Not only is visible mending great for the mind, it's also great for the environment.

By extending the life of a garment, you reduce it’s carbon impact and also save if from becoming part of the 300,000 tonnes of used clothing which finds its way into landfills in the UK every year.

What’s not to love?!

For this tutorial, I used a pair of jeans I’d managed to rip down the pocket, but this technique can be used on any other garment.

To watch the video which accompanies this guide, click here.


For this project you'll need:

Sewing supplies for mending a rip in your clothes

• Your ripped garment

• Scissors

• Pins

• A variety of coloured threads (I use embroidery threads for ease)

• Pins

• A piece of scrap fabric

• Sewing needle


1. To prepare the rip for mending, first you’ll need to pin your scrap fabric in place. Start by pinning your piece of scrap fabric to the inside (wrong side) of your garment so that it covers the whole rip.

As you’ll be covering the whole tear, your scrap fabric doesn’t have to be an exact colour match, but I definitely recommend using a fabric which is a similar weight to the garment you’re mending.

2. After pinning the on the inside, flip your garment so that the right side is facing you and pin all the way down your rip to secure your fabric scrap and stop the rip moving about as you stitch.

I did this tutorial using only pins, but you can definitely tack your scrap fabric in place if that is more comfortable for you. Check out this tutorial for more info on tacking.


Once your fabric and tear are secure, it’s time for the fun bit – let’s get stitching!

3. Start by stitching across the width of your rip, coming up through both the fabric patch and garment. Sew three to four stitches up the length of your rip about a centimetre apart – this will be the direction guide for your fill stitches.

Pins and stitches in jean rip

4. Once you have your guide stitches, you’re going to fill in the space using a tightly packed satin stitch (I recommend this short video if you want a clear guide on the satin stitch). This stitching should create a block of colour which covers the whole tear.

5. Continue this stitching all the way up to your final guide stitch. You should have a nice block of stitched thread with no fabric showing through.

Feel free to go back in and stitch into sections which you think need covering up.

6. Next, repeat the exact same process in steps 3 to 5 with a different coloured thread.

Hand embroidering satin stitch over jean rip

7. Again, make three to four guide stitches across your tear, travelling a centimetre between each stitch. Then, fill in the space between your guide stitches with a satin stitch.

8. Repeat these two steps all the way up the length of your rip, switching thread colour every two to three centimetres.

I used a variety of coloured threads for this guide, but if this isn’t your style, you can definitely use a thread which matches your garment and follow this tutorial without changing colours for a more subtle mend.

There you have it – you’ve successfully mended your rip and given a new lease of life to your damaged garment!

While you're on an upcycling roll, why not check out our other tutorials, How to Take Up Your Hem for a Better Fit and How to Make Straps Shorter.

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